By Andrew Warshaw
September 7 – Manchester City have vehemently defended their conduct in the transfer market after both they and Paris St Germain were accused by Spanish league boss Javier Tebas of “financial doping”.
Speaking at the Soccerex sports business convention on Wednesday Tebas said the two Middle East-backed clubs had spent money from outside football to fund their trophy hunting and that something had to be done to stop it.
He also suggested that Girona, the Spanish club in which City’s owners bought a 44.3% stake last month, had tried to manipulate the price of players loaned from City. Five of Pep Guardiola’s players are spending the season at Girona.
City were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 and this summer spent £215 million – the most by any club in Europe’s transfer window. But the club reacted furiously to Tebas’ comments that made headlines across the UK and Europe.
“Mr Tebas’ statements are ill-informed and in parts pure fiction,” City said in a statement.
The City Football Group (CFG) added: “As you would expect, Manchester City Football Club and the City Football Group are seeking appropriate legal counsel and will act accordingly on that advice.”
The French football league, meanwhile, leapt to the defence of PSG who bought Neymar for a world record €222 million and have taken Kylian Mbappe from Monaco on loan with a view to buying him permanently next summer in what will almost certainly be the second most expensive deal in history.
“The league strongly condemns the insulting comments regarding PSG made today by the president of LaLiga,” it said in a statement.
“These undignified comments do not live up to the standards of an institution as respectable and high-performing as the Spanish league.”
However, in an interview in Spain on Wednesday, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu echoed the sentiments expressed by Tebas – and went even further.
“The market is inflated by the money that does not come from football, it comes from somewhere else. Something has to be done,” Bartomeu said.
Asked if he was speaking about Qatar, which funds PSG, Bartomeu reportedly replied: “Yes, and Abu Dhabi, two countries that have two clubs. If Bayern, United, Madrid or Arsenal buy a player off of you, you know where the money has come from but these [other] clubs distort the market.”
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